Life cycles are inevitably hard to contend with. We are always burdened by knowing what we didn't know back when. And, even more dreary, we won't know what to do in the future. Butterflies are one of the rare lifeforms that have a deliberate midlife crisis, a pandemic-like time alone to appraise their physical self and literally fly away from their past self. To think humans envy this is reasonable, our desire for reinvention, to repurpose our path, is as old as our bloodlines.
But global pandemic aside, rarely are we afforded a proper cocoon phase to find wings and carry us where we truly want to be. Enter Johnny Stimpson, riding out the COVID lockdowns in Texas, writing and more importantly, learning how to produce. Already a talented singer and songwriter but looking for a way to transition from a promising prologue to the first chapter of his musical novel, thinking despite the isolation, "maybe there is something more beautiful on the other side." No need for subtlety on this analogy, the EP Butterflies was born.
The eight songs on Butterflies are all very much the caterpillar genetics of Johnny's prior work but with wings, traveling across an emotive spectrum that ranges from comical, "Princess Peach," to tragic, "wishyouwerehere," a personal favorite. Johnny has clearly taken his pandemic cocoon phase and found his voice, a more confident and authentic composer, conducting a sound that "sounds like me."
The nuance and dynamics are welcomed, a real depth of both sound and narrative on Butterflies allows for the listener to travel alongside Johnny on his journey. This approachability makes his trademark earnestness more intimate. Johnny admits his dual approach of both musicality (theory and structure) and being meaningful (deliberate themes) was ambitious, a form of selfishness to the process. So, yes he placed a lullaby to his puppy, "Joanie's lullaby," next to a critic of materialism "Material things" but much of Butterflies' value is in the cornerstone nature of the boundaries he is setting for himself. Now free of a safe and familiar cocoon, Johnny has found a sound that can take him as far as his talent, imagination, and wings will carry him.
Listen to Butterflies below: